Learning Disabilities Dragon Naturally Speaking Whitepaper


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Learning Disabilities Dragon Naturally Speaking Whitepaper

  1. 1. the experience speaks for itself™Case studyLandmark College Integrates OverviewDragon® NaturallySpeaking® Landmark College isto Help Students with a private, two-year liberal arts institutionLearning Disabilities Achieve of higher learning inAcademic Success Putney, Vermont, that serves a populationCHALLeNge: HeLp StuDeNtS wHo LeArN of approximately 485DIffereNtLy SuCCeeD IN CoLLege AND tHe students with dyslexia,workforCe attention deficitLandmark College incorporates highly hyperactivity disorder, andaccessible educational approaches to other diagnosed learning disabilities. One of the only accredited collegesempower learning disabled students to in the u.s. designed exclusively for students with dyslexia, attentionmaster skills and strategies for success in deficit hyperactivity disorder (ad/Hd), or other specific learning disabilities, Landmark integrates principles of universal design and strategic learningmainstream settings. To that end, the school within a technology-rich, learning-centered environment. Landmark’sstrives to integrate assistive technology into faculty and staff provide a high degree of individual attention to studentsthe learning process wherever possible. as they develop self-understanding, self-advocacy, lifelong learning skills,SoLutIoN: DrAgoN ® NAturALLySpeAkINg ®, and the ability to function autonomously in mainstream settings.tHe worLD’S beSt-SeLLINg SpeeCHreCogNItIoN SoftwAre Landmark’s highly accessible educational approaches empower students who learn differently to master skills and strategies necessary for successDragon NaturallySpeaking enables students in college and the workforce. By strategically integrating assistivewith physical disabilities who are unable to technology into the learning process, Landmark’s educators are able towrite by hand or use a keyboard to produce provide rich opportunities for student-centered learning. these powerfulpapers and other assignments simply by technology tools—which include text-to-speech and voice recognitionspeaking. It also helps students with learning software, note-taking devices and software, and concept mappingdisabilities to express themselves in writing programs—support students as they work to overcome a variety ofmore easily by eliminating reading and learning challenges.spelling concerns that impede their progress. Putting voice recognition to work for studentstHe reSuLtS: greAter INDepeNDeNCe,wrItINg eASe AND fLueNCy, remeDIAL Recent advances in voice recognition software and the hardware it runs onreADINg, wrItINg, AND SpeLLINg progreSS have yielded significant increases in performance, accuracy and ease of use. as voice recognition technology matured, Landmark saw its enormousUsing Dragon, Landmark College students potential for helping students with learning disabilities. When it came timehave been able to achieve greater to select a specific voice recognition software product for its students—independence in their schoolwork; express particularly those in its Language Intensive Curriculum track—Landmarkthemselves in writing with enhanced easeand fluency; and make marked progress inspelling, reading and writing.
  2. 2. Case study DrAgoN NAturALLySpeAkINg – LANDmArk CoLLegeCollege did its homework. the assistive technology team looked take notes for them or to transcribe their papers as they dictate.at several solutions and selected dragon Naturallyspeaking from this approach not only fosters dependence, but it makes it difficultNuance Communications. for the student to have a sense of the writing flow without having a draft to re-read as each sentence develops.dragon Naturallyspeaking gives users the power to createdocuments and emails three times faster than most people type Landmark has found voice recognition software to be a valuable—with up to 99% accuracy—just by speaking. With dragon, tool for enabling greater levels of independence and success whenstudents can surf theWeb by voice or dictate and edit in Microsoft it comes to all forms of student writing—from assignments andWord, excel, PowerPoint, and most papers to note taking and email. With dragon, students can talk toother Windows-based applications. dragon also enables the student their computers and watch their spoken words instantlyto use voice commands for formatting documents, navigating appear in documents, presentations, email, and instant messages.applications, and locating files on the computer. For greater convenience and mobility, they can also dictate into a Nuance-certified handheld recorder and dragon will automaticallytaking the time to train dragon pays off in more accurate recognition transcribe the recording when they sync with their PC.results. When a student creates a voice profile, dragon starts withgeneral models of how english is spoken in the us, and adapts to Freeing up cognitive spacehow that individual speaks (acoustic model) and which words heuses (vocabulary and associated language model). this approach For some Landmark students, getting the first couple of sentencesaccommodates users with varying accents and speech patterns down on the page can be the most difficult part of the writingand allows users to dictate using natural continuous speech. dragon process. For example, dyslexic students often face reading andregularly refines the user’s profile and employs it to accurately spelling challenges, which present enormous hurdles to writtendetermine the words spoken and to choose between words that expression. difficulties with working memory prevent other studentssound alike. every time the user corrects a “misrecognition” dragon from managing more than one aspect of the writing task at aupdates his/her voice profile, enabling better recognition accuracy time. as a result, completion of papers, reports, and other writingover time. assignments can be a frustrating and extremely time-consuming endeavor.“When the college was evaluating voice recognition software, dragonNaturallyspeaking’s range of commands and the sensitivity of its dragon Naturallyspeaking frees up cognitive space in the brain tospeech recognition engine set it apart from other products,” said jumpstart the writing process, allowing these students to get theirKathy Burris, assistive technology Coordinator and educator at thoughts on the page without worrying about reading and spelling.Landmark College. “Plus, the latest version of the software features as students dictate their thoughts, dragon automatically turnsmore advanced adaptation techniques and new acoustic models speech into correctly spelled text. Furthermore, dragon’s playbackthat allow for exceptional coverage of non-native and regional function enables students to hear—rather than read—what they’veaccents. this is important to us since our students come from written, so they can make edits as needed. By listening to their writing, some students become more aware of issues like awkwardthroughout the u.s. and across the globe.” phrasing or poor sentence structure that require revision.Fostering student independence “a student in our summer program was struggling with his writing—Many Landmark students have disabilities that make it difficult for rushing to get out his thoughts and skipping words he couldn’tthem to express themselves in writing. Many may face learning spell—to the point where one of his teachers would have to filldisabilities like dyslexia, which presents decoding and spelling in every fifth word or so in his papers,” said Burris. “after trainingchallenges; dysgraphia, which causes a disconnect between an on dragon for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, thisindividual’s thoughts and his ability to transform those thoughts into student was able to go to the computer lab and complete a highwritten words; or auditory, memory or processing disabilities that quality, six-page paper on Helen Keller in a single evening. thisimpede organization, outlining and written composition. traditionally, accomplishment really boosted his self-confidence.”such students have depended on parents, teachers, or peers to
  3. 3. Case study DrAgoN NAturALLySpeAkINg – LANDmArk CoLLegeServing remedial as well as assistive “We are always trying to make the students aware of dragon andfunctions what it can do for them,” added Burris. “although we hold demos at new student orientations, on family weekends, in the studentstudies have shown that voice recognition promotes improved center and dorm lounges, and at meals in the dining halls, interestspelling and word recognition as students watch the words they in dragon spreads via word-of-mouth more than anything else. asspeak get transcribed, word by word, on the computer screen. a result, there’s constant demand for individual, cohort, and classOther research validates the technology’s usefulness in increasing training.”writing ease and fluency. Having repeatedly witnessed dragon’seffectiveness as a remedial tool, the educators at Landmark College Having seen what students have been able to accomplish with thecan corroborate these findings. help of dragon, Landmark educators are eager to spread the news to other professionals in the field of special education. Burris and“When I asked one of my students—a proficient dragon user—to her associates demonstrate dragon on Professional Visit days;do a dictation demo at an upcoming board meeting, she agreed during off-campus outreach visits at high schools, colleges, andbut asked for some review training,” stated Burris. “Noticing my educational conferences; and at summer workshops offered bysurprise, the student explained that she had stopped using dragon the Landmark College Institute for Research and training. throughfor a while. she said that using dragon had actually helped her learn these demos, Landmark seeks to provide an opportunity for otherhow to spell and put her thoughts together more easily, so she was educators to learn how dragon can be used to facilitate academicno longer dependent on it for the bulk of her papers.” skill development and provide fuller access to educational programs.Helping more than just students “Landmark College acknowledges but does not accept the societal practice of labeling and stigmatizing students who learn differently,”Landmark students are not alone in their enthusiasm about dragon concluded Burris. “Instead, they strive to provide accessibleNaturallyspeaking. Many faculty and staff members have become approaches to learning that empower these individuals to exceedavid dragon users, too. One instructor created a dragon voice their aspirations and achieve their full potential. It’s wonderful toprofile so she could record her lectures and make them available to see how integrating tools like dragon into the learning process isstudents with disabilities that impede effective note-taking during changing the lives of students who have been marginalized for soclass. Other faculty and staff use dragon to increase the quality and long.”efficiency of their work—from correspondence and email to reportsand assessments.“I use dragon all the time,” stated Burris. “shortly after I started © 2009 Nuance Communications, Inc. all rights reserved. Nuance, the Nuanceworking at Landmark, I was in an accident and lost complete use logo, dragon and Naturallyspeaking are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Nuance Communications, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries in the united states and/or otherof my left arm for seven months. Because I couldn’t type, I quickly countries. all other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.learned the ins and outs of dragon so I could take care of theadministrative aspects of my job. I’ve been a devoted dragon userever since.”Breaking down barriers to successtoday, dragon Naturallyspeaking is ubiquitous at LandmarkCollege. students enrolled in the Language Intensive Curriculumtrack are required to purchase dragon and install it on their laptops.Other students can choose to buy a personal copy of dragon orthey can use the software in the college’s computer lab or dictationrooms. NuaNCE COMMuNiCatiONs, iNC. ONE WaysidE ROad 781 565 5000 BuRliNgtON, Ma 01803 NuaNCE.COM